Bruern Holiday Cottages, OX7 6QA
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Sleeps 6 plus cot: 1 double with ensuite, 2 twins, private terrace, oak-beamed kitchen, rustic decor, books for the family, open fire, four poster bed, power shower, barbecue
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Aintree Holiday Cottage (at the back of the courtyard to the left of the central arches) was once a stable, but you would never guess it. The front door opens into a lofty drawing-room, large, handsome and rather grand - more country house than holiday cottage, with its pictures, 18th century engravings, lamps, books and flowers. Through the French windows is a large terrace, with magnificent views over the lawn and borders of the walled garden. Inside, there are stone-coloured chintz curtains, trimmed with Colefax & Fowler fringe, which hang in generous folds to the floor, their colour echoed in the windowpane-checked loose cover of the huge, down-cushioned Howard sofa. There's a smaller buttoned sofa in a subtle green Lelievre velvet, and a big comfortable armchair. A large gilt mirror over the antique pine mantelpiece accentuates the elegant proportions of the room. The walls are stencilled in a fern pattern, green on green, by Jocasta Innes, author of 'Paint Magic' and more recently, design guru for Tate Modern. There's a vast ottoman in front of the open fire, covered in a rosy rust kelim. To one side is a tall George III secretaire and opposite, a painted bookcase with a large collection of books.
Opening out of this room, and facing west through its own trellised arbour, is the oak-beamed kitchen, floored in pale apricot terracotta. The walls are yellow, the units off-white, and there's a handsome Irish antique pine dresser, its shelves crowded with blue-and-white china. A flight of stairs leads up from the drawing-room to the landing, its walls festooned with Spy engravings of Victorian and Edwardian worthies. On the right is the master bedroom, large, airy and dominated by a magnificent mahogany four-poster bed, which is hung in indigo-and-white Ralph Lauren cotton, and has a matching quilt. The buff of the walls is set off by thick cream cotton damask curtains. An elegant little fauteuil by the oak bureau and a white buttoned armchair offer a chance to relax in peace.
The large ensuite bathroom has a power shower over the bath, a bidet, a mahogany-seated lavatory and a huge marble washstand with inset basin, which runs the length of the wall. There is a shaving point and a heated towel-rail.
To the left of the staircase is a twin-bedded room decorated in a terracotta Farrow & Ball paper, with two handsome antique beds marbled in green and terracotta. Opposite is another twin-bedded room with a leafy Nina Campbell wallpaper and brass beds. They share a bathroom with a marble-topped washstand, a lavatory, a bath with power shower, a shaving point and a heated towel-rail.